Calculating Your Grit Quotient (GQ): As Reported by Artificial Intelligence (Author Interview)

Tell a little about yourself as the author of Calculating Your Grit Quotient (GQ): As Reported by Artificial Intelligence.

My name is Tom Lough. I was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. After ten years in the US Army, I began a teaching career that spanned high school, college, and university courses, as well as international science teacher workshops. During that time, learned a lot about human nature, picking up a PhD in Educational Psychology along the way.

I have always been intrigued by the ability of one’s attitude to make a difference in one’s achievements. I became aware of this personally in my training for the Olympic trials in modern pentathlon and had been looking for a way to condense this awareness into a single concept or approach. The idea of grit came along at just the right time.

I have also done a bit of writing and learned recently about the availability of artificial intelligence (AI) systems such as ChatGPT to influence, augment, or replace the efforts of writers in many fields. I became curious about AI’s potential and began exploring its abilities. From that effort, the GQ book emerged.

Actually, I’m more of the publisher rather than the author of the GQ book. I leaned heavily on AI to provide most of the content, as I will tell you about in a moment.


What was the inspiration behind using AI to write a book about the Grit Quotient?

For several years, I have followed the grit research and reporting of Angela Duckworth. As a West Point graduate, I was interested to learn that her initial research and findings were developed at the academy. As a member of the 1968 US Olympic Team, I realized the key role that grit played in becoming an Olympian. In short, I became a kind of cheerleader and advocate for her work.

Recently, I had been exploring the potential of the convergence of AI and the just-in-time publishing system of Amazon to transform how the printed/published word could be developed and shared around the world. As part of that exploration, I developed a series of books available on Amazon as examples of how this might come about. See

Then I realized that AI could also serve as a catalyst of sorts to help readers learn about some topics in a more personalized or individualized way. Because the topic of grit was so significant to me, I decided to see how AI would treat it as a book topic. When I saw the various subtopics AI suggested, I got the idea of using them as components of something I ended up calling the GQ or grit quotient.


How does the AI system calculate an individual's Grit Quotient? What parameters or criteria does it consider?

The AI system does not actually calculate an individual’s GQ. Instead, the GQ is based on the self-assigned scores of ten grit-related parameters which were identified by AI. Readers assess the extent to which they are passionate, willing to work, and goal-seeking, as a few examples, and use a scale to develop a score for each parameter. By adding up the ten scores, they arrive at a total, their own GQ.


In the book, why have you emphasized the private and individual nature of the GQ score?

Because a GQ score is based on a subjective and self-assessed perspective relative to the ten parameters, it is highly individualized. In that sense, the GQ score of one person cannot be compared to the GQ score of another in a meaningful way. However, for the same individual, changes in a GQ could be detected and tracked.


Given the complexities of human nature, how did the AI ensure that its understanding of "grit" is comprehensive and doesn't oversimplify the concept?

As I understand it, artificial intelligence systems are able to access and process a wide range of information that is available online. When I queried AI about its knowledge of grit, its response corresponded fairly closely to my own understanding. So, although this is not a total assurance that AI’s understanding of grit is comprehensive, I can assure readers that the parameters that were identified are common to most descriptions of grit. [Note: All readers are cautioned to view any AI output with skepticism. Although AI systems are designed to bring together and organize existing information, it is still possible to output misleading or even incorrect results.]


Were there any challenges in translating the AI's understanding of grit and its corresponding research into a format that's easily digestible by human readers?

This question brings out one of AI’s additional benefits, that of formatted output. By framing a query in a certain way, an AI user can get the system to output its response in a desired format. In the case of this book, I was able to ask AI to return its perspectives on the various identified GQ parameters in a format that fed directly into the layout template I had developed for the book. That freed up time for me to add in other components and scoring processes to assist readers in developing their GQ scores.


How does AI account for cultural, personal, or situational nuances when determining someone's GQ?

All readers bring their own individual cultural, personal, and situated perspectives to the table when it is time to determine their GQ score. Configuring an AI system to take all of this into account is beyond the scope of this book. For this reason, the book provides a self-assessment process in which these nuances can be taken into account by each individual. This also gives another reason why it would be difficult for different individuals to compare their GQ scores with each other in a meaningful way.


Can you shed light on the process of how the AI was prompted to do research, organize the information, and format it?

I believe in total transparency for this process. In the preface, I discuss my approach for using AI to develop this book and go into detail with how I designed the queries that produced the AI results. I show the exact prompt for the first chapter and give a template for the query for the chapters that explored the various GQ parameters. In the preface I also discuss some pros and cons of using AI systems for such reporting and caution the reader about how this process is both exciting and concerning. I invite readers to be willing to explore the potential of AI, but I also realize that everyone will have to decide how they will deal with such systems.

AI is here to stay, and it is up to each of us to figure out how to query such systems to obtain the desired results. In fact, a new career field called query engineering may be emerging, in which trained specialists and experts can be hired by companies to develop highly focused prompts for researching, organizing, and formatting the desired output information.


How does this book fit into the larger conversation about the capabilities of AI in understanding human emotions, resilience, and character traits?

This book is just one example of a host of others that explore the range of human emotions and character traits. As the capabilities of AI systems improve, I think we can expect to see even more books developed that contribute significantly to the larger conversation about how AI can be of meaningful service. Yes, it can be abused, but AI has the potential to extend the understanding of ourselves in ways we might not be able to imagine at present. In this sense, AI’s potential in the field of psychology is particularly exciting.


What insights or surprising findings did the AI uncover about grit during its research and writing process?

There were no real surprises for me since grit is a topic that has been the focus of many articles, reports, studies, and books. Let me take that back just a bit. In my previous study of grit, I had never seen the particular collection of parameters associated with grit that the AI system produced for this book. In that sense, I was delightfully surprised.


For readers looking to increase their Grit Quotient, what actionable advice or strategies does the book offer? How can they track and measure their progress over time?

The book enables the following strategy for increasing one’s GQ score. Once readers establish a baseline GQ, they can review the various parameters described in the book and focus on the ones that contribute the least to their score. Based on their individual situations, they can devise meaningful actions that would justify an increase in the self-assessment scores of those parameters. This would result in a higher GQ. Again, this is highly individualized and cannot be compared meaningfully to the experience of another.


How can readers obtain a copy of the GQ book?

The book is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle form. Here is a link to the information web page of the book.

Anything else?

I’d like to thank you for the opportunity for this interview and to thank the readers for their interest. I wish for them a positive GQ experience and a higher appreciation of their abilities to achieve.

Tom Lough